Flags to fly at half-staff to honor officer killed in Joplin

Officer Jefferson Taylor seen with his canine companion. / The Taylor Family

Flags will fly at half staff across Missouri on Wednesday in honor of a Kansas City area police officer who died after helping Joplin tornado victims.

A bolt of lightning injured Jefferson Jeff Taylor, 31, the day after the twister touched down. The lightning hit the ground near him as he helped in Joplin. Taylor died June 3.

Taylor underwent a successful skin graft surgery and doctors were treating him for other complications when he died.

Gov. Nixon ordered all flags at government building fly at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Wednesday.

Taylor was one of a dozen emergency responders from the Kansas City suburb of Riverside who volunteered to go to Joplin. He is the first Riverside officer to die in the line of duty.

Taylor joined the department in 2005 and was the Officer of the Year in 2008.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report)